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Thoughts While Walking the Dog
Memories of a Jewish Childhood
By Lynn Ruth Miller


The more I see of men, the better I like dogs
Marie-Jeanne Roland

I am single. I spent a huge portion of my life trying to convince myself that this was not a good thing. I married, divorced, descended into deep depression, married, divorced, became suicidal, shopped the dating circuit as zealously as women today scan Craig’s List and finally gave up. I was convinced my persona made Godzilla look like a hottie. I believed that had I been endowed with visible cleavage and a good bottom I might have attracted men on two legs instead of four.

It was not until my sixties that I began to appreciate the advantages of living solo. My home is MY castle. I make my own mess and decide if and when I want to tidy it. My dogs are beloved company, and I keep them on a tight leash. You can’t do that with men. I know. I tried.

I have a loving apparently happy friend, Gloria who is living the very life I thought I wanted. Gloria not only has a very fine rack and soft seat, she has a whole lot more. She has Gorgeous, her Golden Retriever, a spacious house and an inheritance that paid off its mortgage. She tells me her husband, Herb loves her so violently that he swears he will die the day she does. Her amazing sons, Drennon and Chad are intelligent, handsome and help the homeless on a regular basis. They often pop over to visit Mom and treat her to a cheese soufflé with pommes de terre frites and conversation just because she is who she is. They iron their own shirts and shower daily.

Her two daughters-in-law, Winnie and Helga are not good enough for these paragons Gloria birthed, but thank God Helga is smart enough to realize her how lucky she is to have nabbed creative and sexy Chad.

Winnie is too stupid to appreciate what she has.

Still, it is this very daughter-in-law who had provided dear Gloria with a dozen princely examples of human perfection, her grandchildren. Smart Helga is still on the pill…although she swears that when she has the nursery painted, the layette purchased and Chaddie-pie ready to share her with an infant, she will conceive. At this point, poor Chad is working three jobs and grinding his teeth into his gums, because Helga does her shopping at Whole Foods for staples and Dragers for the good stuff. She buys her wardrobe at Nordstrom’s Fashion Boutique and one pair of her shoes cost more than the Hope Diamond. Chad respects her for her independent attitude AND her lovely legs. Herb thinks her legs are excellent, too. Drennon doesn’t care. He has all he can do to service Winnie

Winnie is a slut. She got pregnant before Drennon finished high school because she lost her diaphragm. He was so preoccupied entering Winnie he forgot about taking the SAT (which of course he would have passed with the highest score known to civilized man because as a baby he added six columns of figures in his head while soiling his diaper.) Now he supports his ever-growing progeny by delivering bread for Safeway during the day and tending bar at night because the tips are so good.

I love to meet Gloria for lunch and hear what she and her family have been up to. Actually, she isn’t up to very much these days because Herb will not let her out of the house without him now that he is retired. He allows her ONE hour away for our lunch because on the way home she stops to buy him his favorite brand of cigars and a bottle of Seagrams for his before-dinner nip. He stopped nipping HER years ago when he had that hernia repaired. It is just as well, because dear Gloria is not as feisty as she was when the two of them used to dream about that little home of their own and the two children they would make. “WE knew when to stop,” said Gloria. “You would think that Winnie would have figured it out by now but she is pregnant again and poor Drennon is on mega-doses of Prozac just to cope. Herb is paying his medical bills because delivering bread just doesn’t provide enough bread for a family of fifteen if you know what I mean.”

I knew.

Even though Gloria is living my dream, her life has not always been the bed of roses I thought it would be. She has a compressed disc and a sciatic twitch that makes sleep almost impossible. That’s the price she is paying for her years hauling Drennon, Chad and the groceries up those three flights of stairs to their house overlooking the ocean with cross ventilation which is SO important with a dog like Gorgeous and two healthy boys growing up and doing boy things. Did I agree?

I did.

Now Gloria needs both knees replaced not to mention the tendon in her left hand and the crustaceous growth on her tibia. Thank God, Herb had good health benefits and Aunt Bertha’s inheritance.

When Herb had his arches raised, his liver ventilated and his prostate fixed up because … well that’s what happens to guys when they age, Gloria was barely out of her walker after her emergency hip alignment. She still had to be Herb’s legs while he healed, walk Gorgeous (if you could call her fractured gait walking), cook Herb his three hearty meals, and make sure those grandchildren ate a decent lunch. Winnie can only do one thing and you know what that is.

I knew.

And how was life treating me?

“Very well, I said. “I am lucky that way.”

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